Mendocino Pt. 2 / Josh Ritter "The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter"

Somehow these two seem tied to each other.


Noreen and I took a day/night trip up to Mendocino. The four-plus hour drive up there on Sunday was outstanding (though eclipsed by the return trip). The weather was sweet, the scenery on 101 into 128 into 1 was breathtaking. Almost the entire 160 or so miles was amazing. We headed over the Golden Gate and into the long stretch of 101. When we hit 128 we were met with trees that seemed to create short tunnels. The trees that hovered over the car and shot up into the sky were gorgeous. It's a cliche, but it made me think of the environment. It helped me to understand the true need to preserve such beautiful places.

When we arrived in Mendocino, we were greeted by the kind manager of the bed & breakfast and admired our room. We then trotted into town for massages. Hers was great, mine was a bit on the rough side. There were many comedy gold moments. Dinner was as good as one could imagine. We got back to the room and listened to the Rachel's record I'd recently bought on eMusic. It was perfect.

Monday was the kicker. I think I had the largest breakfast I've had in my life. I had about four cups of coffee. Noreen wanted to head 9 miles north to the Botanical Garden. It was well worth the trip. Noreen has opened up my eyes to flowers, plants, hell, even vegetables. It's all fascinating to me. It's home for her. She could've stayed there for a week straight. I think I could have as well.

As we left town, we headed onto 128 and were watching the clock. We wanted to get home at a reasonable hour. Then came the trees again. "Can we stop for five minutes?", she asked. With a little hesitation, I agreed. We grabbed our cameras and walked about 50 yards into the woods. We went our separate ways. I found myself lying on the dirt, looking up at the sun and the trees and feeling as though I were in a different world. There was very little sound. The trees were still. They were beasts. I was covered in dirt. I barely noticed. After about 15 minutes we met on a little path. Now, I didn't want to leave. And neither did she. We walked slowly to the car, looked back into the woods, shared a smile and got into the car. We were home in no time.


This has to be the album of the year. A good friend of mine has been a Ritter fanatic for years, but I never caught on. Until now. This is a songwriter and a band that's hit its peak. And it's not just a "good point" in his career. With "Historical Conquests" he's made a mark. The lyrics are fucking great, the singing is Dylan meets Springsteen meets Tweedy meets Costello. The band is ablaze. These are some of the best songs I've heard in years.

Dave: You were right. Ritter is an important artist. His new record is evidence that he's perhaps one of the most important artists right now. If you're reading this, buy this record. Today. Now.

"This orchestra is gigantic, this thing could sink the Titanic" --Josh Ritter "Rumors" (Noreen: I think you're right)